Pavilion Family Medicine

A Functional Medicine Doctor’s Powerful Cancer Prevention Tips

Article from Dr. Mark Hyman and The Chalkboard Mag.  Originally posted 08/09/16 on http://thechalkboardmag.com/functional-medicine-cancer-prevention.

DITCH THE SUGAR: Sugar feeds cancer and creates diabetes. The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year and about 146 pounds of flour a year. Diabetes affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed. The number one thing you can do to prevent or control cancer is to control insulin levels with a high-fiber diet rich in real, fresh, whole foods and minimize or eliminate sugary, processed, insulin-raising foods. Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods, plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off the cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes. No medication can do that.

ELIMINATE FOOD SENSITIVITIES: In a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer. By just this mechanism alone, more than 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer and death. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies that are linked to insulin resistance. Cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut and an inflamed body to heal.

REDUCE INFLAMMATION: Inflammation is the common thread connecting most chronic disease, including cancer. In fact, out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance, which, as we now know, is the main factor in all these diseases, apart from autoimmunity and allergy. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation and the whole biological house burns down. Besides removing sugar and food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, we want to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, including omega-3-rich foods like wild fish and flaxseeds.

IMPROVE GUT HEALTH: Cancer often originates in your gut. Not just colon cancer, but with many cancers. We are currently studying about the gut microbiome and breast and prostate cancers. Beyond avoiding inflammatory foods, adding in probiotics, prebiotics and lots of phytonutrients, like curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in grapes), can reduce gut-based inflammation.

REDUCE TOXIC EXPOSURE: The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells). The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, flame retardants and heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic. These chemicals have a broad range of negative effects on human biology; they damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, and now they have been shown to contribute to obesity. Going clean and green means becoming more aware about how environmental toxins affect your health. I encourage you to visit the Environmental Working Group to learn more.

CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS: Change your thoughts to change your immune system. This bonus strategy is often overlooked, but it’s just as important as the other strategies above. Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively – that how we live, the quality of our relationships, the food we eat and how we use our bodies determines much more than our genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels and exercising regularly.

These materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on Pavilion Family Medicine Medial Blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.